Opera Mini, Opera Software's long standing web browser for feature phones, underpowered devices and situations where bandwidth needs to be saved, received an update today that brings a new user interface and Speed Dial page to the browser.
The new user interface resembles that of the regular Opera browser for Android. When you open Opera Mini for the first time after the update you are taken to the new speed dial page that displays a selection of often used or saved sites there among other things.
One difference on this page is that speed dial links and news are posted on a single page while those information and others are displayed in tabs in the regular Opera mobile browser.
Another difference is the compression feature used by both browsers. Opera Turbo, the compression feature of the regular Opera browser, can be turned off and is less aggressive while Opera Mini's compression feature cannot be turned off.
In fact, the only option you get is to change the quality of images from high quality to a lower quality or to off which would stop loading images altogether in the browser.
The majority of sites are displayed just fine in Opera Mini for Android but you may notice that some elements look different when compared to other browsers.
For instance, it won't load external fonts which, as you can see on the screenshot above, blocks some contents on Ghacks from being displayed correctly in the browser.
It is a downside of using aggressive compression settings and little options to control the feature in the browser.
One interesting feature of Opera Mini is that it supports multiple layouts. The default classic layout is optimized for one-hand navigation but you can switch to a phone optimized layout instead which maximize space for sites by removing the bottom toolbar or a tablet layout which does the same but adds tabs to the top to improve tab switching.
Other new features include swipe support in several browser areas. Swipe bookmarks to delete them, tabs to close them and downloads to abort them. The new Opera Mini integrates with Android's global search feature which you activate by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. There you find Opera Mini as one of the options for that.
Tab switching has changed as well. A tap on the tab icon displays thumbnails of open tabs in the browser. A tap on a thumbnail switches to it. There you find options to open private tabs, another new feature in the browser.
The new start page displays a link to the bookmarks manager which, you guessed it, was updated as well. There you can open the Android bookmarks, configure bookmarks synchronization across devices, or use the built-in share feature.
Opera Software published a short video demonstration on YouTube that showcases the new Opera Mini browser for Android. Check it out below:
Opera Mini is a great choice when it comes to saving as much bandwidth as possible, for instance when you are on a limited mobile connection or if the Internet connection itself is unreliable. It can be a useful browser at other times as well even though it offers a limited feature set.
It does not support extensions for example which means that you won't get native script-blocking or other functionality that you may rely on in the browser.
The browser is compatible with Android 2.3 and up.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.